The season is upon us: twinkle lights, awkward office gift exchanges, tasty treats, and a new "holiday guide to detox" email every time you open your inbox. People will pledge to start their detox as they shove pumpkin pie in their mouths, or maybe even proactively detox in anticipation of the holiday food guilt.
But hold up a sec: What is a detox anyway? Technically, to detox means, "to rid your body of toxins." And admittedly, our environment these days exposes us to enough of those to warrant a detox in some ways, but we're not just talking about pumpkin pie. The term "detox" has become overused (I've already said it four times in this paragraph alone), and for the sake of enjoying the holiday season, all we really need is to maintain some semblance of health during a time that can be busy, stressful, and full of tasty temptations.
Because flip-flopping from binge eating to barely eating is not gonna do you any favors—and putting your body through extra stress during the holidays probably won't help either.
Did you know your body is actually built to detox itself? So why not find a sustainable solution, a way to support your body's natural detoxification systems year-round?
By adopting a few healthy habits you can find a balance that works for you and avoid the added stress of these extremes.
These practices are so simple; in fact, they may seem obvious. But because they are so basic they are easily overlooked, undervalued, and not consistently employed. I challenge you to integrate these habits into your routine, one by one, to build a foundation of wellness for yourself and feel amazing this holiday season.
Get rid of the food guilt
Putting stress on our bodies (in the form of negative self-talk and guilt) can be just as harmful as that second piece of pie. So if you're gonna eat it, just enjoy it, guilt-free.
Just add veggies
Seriously, just add more veggies to your plate. I like to think of these as the vehicles that help everything else get through my body. Eventually those veggies will start crowding out the less healthy stuff on your plate...eventually.
Move that body!
Physical activity is another "vehicle" that helps everything move through our digestive tract, so find any way to move that you can. Go for a walk after dinner, wake up for an early morning workout class, or chase your cat around the apartment. Just move.
Yes! Permission to rest during this busy time. In fact, it's a must. None of our bodies' systems are working at full capacity when we're tired. Read: Yes, not sleeping can make you fat! So rest up, and you can read more about why sleep is so important here.
You heard me: Drink up. Much like sleep, hydration keeps all our systems running smoothly. Plus, thirst is often mistaken for hunger, so before you reach for a snack try drinking some water. If plain old water is super boring for you, pop in a slice of lemon or cozy up with a cup of herbal tea, but avoid the sugary alternatives.
Have fun with it!
I personally love finding sneaky ways to make classic recipes healthier. Use rice or maple syrup instead of conventional sugar; applesauce for veggie oil; nut flour for white flour; the list goes on, and the internet is your friend.
Now, I know that holiday weight gain is a real thing.
My first thought: Maybe that's OK? It is winter, after all. It's natural to be drawn to warm, hearty foods as the temps drop and daylight hours wane. So follow your instincts and try to focus less on how you look and more on how you feel.
Maybe that plate full of seconds will make you feel awesome! Or maybe it will leave you with that "you can roll me home now" feeling. You know your body best; choose accordingly. And let yourself enjoy the damn holiday.